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While change may inspire fear or anguish at times, novelties to the Spring landscape tend to usher in a sense of dreams realised and the thrill of fresh growth. What seemed lost is regained. Horses and their riders look forward to Spring for so many reasons: warmer weather, grass at last!, no more blankets!, beautiful trail rides, Spring show season, racing meets, and opportunities for every discipline. 

My horses eagerly await hand grazing on deep, fresh grass in a field covered with dandelions. As I watch their velvet muzzles sniff out the best new shoots and flowers, I share their eagerness vicariously. Like a starry sky, the earth responds with a green background illuminated by bright yellow flowering weeds. Clusters of golden orbs seem like constellations, a gathering of flowers. 

For me and my trusty steed, trail rides offer a different natural glory as April and May bring forth changes to our travels on a daily basis. The grass is thick in places, like a lush carpet underfoot, softer and more welcoming than the frozen earth of winter. Farmers’ fields show new crops emerging while wild ones are scattered with wildflowers and some beautiful weeds such as dandelions and yellow rocket, sources of nectar for the first pollinators. As we cross fields,

everything seems quite different, changed, but filled with possibility and new discoveries like the Mayapple in bloom. Green and yellow prevail, dominating as far as the eye can see. 

Our New Jersey state birds, the goldfinches, have molted their drab, protective feathers of winter. Gleaming yellow males and pale golden-brown females flurry across fields to forest where they nest in leafy paradise, their color making them easy to see. Sometimes, I am fortunate enough to glimpse a warbler with yellow feathers, much more furtive birds, and hard to identify without binoculars. Sometimes, I can only hear their melodious songs. A sighting seems a special gift, a chance to witness the secrets of the forest, lost for the winter months. 

Light changes too. Daytime rides provide brilliant sunlight requiring shade at times, a reminder of our vulnerability and the power of nature. As we pass by a pond or cross a stream, light dances beneath damp hooves to create a magical effect of passing through light, sky reflected on water. At day’s end, the sun shines brightly in a final diurnal effort to spread intense yellow over greenery, blinding us at times with a piercing glare. As yellow fades to orange, we head back to the barn before light transfers to darkness lit up by early fireflies like stars in the night. 

On our late day trail rides, we often return just before dark at the end of day in fading light. Grateful, refreshed, and pensive, my horse lowers his head once again to take in the taste and smell of yellow and green, dandelion and grass, sky and meadow. Spring has come again at last!

Katharine MacCornack
Published on 18-05-2021
I started riding as a child and have always loved everything equine. I've been involved in training, breeding, and several disciplines over the years. I live on a small farm with my horses. I am a teacher and a writer.